With TOPS fully funded, LSU tries to attract potential students

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With TOPS fully funded next year, LSU is hoping to win back possible students.

The university launched a radio advertisement in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and New Orleans, aimed at reassuring students and parents alike.

"If you haven't heard, TOPS is fully funded and LSU is holding a seat for you," the ad says.

The fate of the scholarship had been in limbo for much of the past year, after being funded at just 70 percent last year. This year, the state legislature reversed course and fully funded the award for the 2017-18 school year.

The legislature also did not impose a cut to state college funding for the first time in nearly a decade. LSU President F. King Alexander described it as going from "defense to offense."

"Now we can start doing some things that we haven't been able to do in the past," he said, saying the funding will allow them to hold on to top-ranked faculty and possibly even hire new professors.

However, some parents remain unconvinced, including Crystal Marchand of Watson. She and her daughter, a high school student, visited LSU Friday for a tour. She worries that due to the state's rocky finances, TOPS could take a cut yet again down the road. Without the award guaranteed for the entire four years, LSU may be out of the question for her daughter.

"It makes you nervous, you just don't know. You just don't know. You can't make plans with them," Marchand said. "We'd have to look at out of state, I guess. We'd have to look at whoever is going to give her the most scholarships, the most money."

For now, she and her daughter are left to wait and hope. Regardless if TOPS is fully funded or not, student costs are still going up. On Thursday, LSU's Board of Supervisors approved a 5 percent fee increase that could amount to about $270.

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